Creative Scotland - getting ready to miss the great big digital opportunity.

Photocredit - Chris Watt

Creative Scotlad was formed on 1st July 2010, so that will be exactly six months ago today. For that day I wrote a piece in the Scotsman which the Creative Scotland chief executive, Andrew Dixon, directly quoted from at the launch event in the Roxy later that same month. I proposed diverting money out of subsidising individual arts companies and performances and putting it into building a digital infrastucture which delivered listings, ticketing and EVERYTHING else that web 2.0 functionality makes possible. By taking a pro-active, strategic approach to enabling people both in Scotland and anywhere else to participate in the arts in Scotland, the economic benefit would outweigh the cost - and much more importantly, the access an the audiences for the arts in Scotland would be increased.

I've also banged on about this idea here and here and here and here and here to explore the details and opportunities. I've met with Andrew Dixon, the List, the Edinburgh Pilot Portal Project and Scottish Enterprise; given presentations at two Barcamps and sought to battle through the fears of the naysayers in order to enable them to share the vision of a digital strategy for Scotland which is commensurate with the opportunity the techology offers and appropriate to who we are and will be as a nation (not just white men in kilts)


At this point, on new year's day, I have to concede failure. Whatever discussion Creative Scotland may or may not have about this idea it now seems clear that when their strategy is finally unveiled in March it will be more of the same old subsidies - pretending to be investment. Audiences will still be treated as statistical data rather than people and the prospect of Listings, Ticketing and EVERYTHING else Web 2.0. functionality makes possible will be just another opportunity missed. But I don't care, I'm not taking this personally (oh yes he is). I'm not fussed that Fiona Hyslop and her team are supporting the idea of a New Scottish TV company, which is going to cost £75 million, so we can all stay home and watch even more TV - as if that's going to answer any of the countries cultural/health needs. I'm not fussed that Fiona Hyslop and her team seem unable to grasp the opportunity to use digital techology to get out of our homes and into the public places where we can communally engage in the live experience of......well it's your choice.


Happy New Year.






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Tags: arts, creative scotland

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Comment by Richard Saville-Smith on January 8, 2011 at 21:55

Cheers Kevin. It is my humble view that people like me should not be deemed difficult, but rather welcomed by those who know better (sic) and if They want to dismiss positions such as mine, they should do it on the basis of  logic and (researched) facts rather than prejudice and the fear of cohent criticism.

Comment by Kevin Bradshaw on January 7, 2011 at 14:23

Great piece Richard. Big kudos to you for being smart and brave enough to be honest. You'll be labelled as "difficult" now :-)


Good for you, we need a lot more smart, honest, difficult people if we are ever to get Scotland to produce world-class digital media companies.


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